Archive for May 10th, 2017

Africa’s FDI flow under threat


(Posted 10th May 2017)

African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)

For African governments part of what is at stake are much needed foreign direct investments and access to affordable financing necessary to spur development and, specifically, to close the estimated USD 900 billion infrastructure gap
At a Roundtable event in Nairobi, Ministers from across Africa sat together with investors and the private sector to determine how best to tackle the investment and credit risk hurdles in order to make African risks bankable. Participants to the Roundtable see the event as timely because it comes at time of geopolitical uncertainties which, according to The World Bank, could lead to “higher borrowing costs or cut off capital flows to emerging and frontier markets”.

For African governments part of what is at stake are much needed foreign direct investments and access to affordable financing necessary to spur development and, specifically, to close the estimated USD900 billion infrastructure gap. Equally, the private sector stands to lose billions of dollars in lost opportunities if the requirements for a favourable investment environment are not adequately addressed.

The half day forum, the 4th Roundtable to focus on Political and Credit Risks in Africa, took place on the side lines of the African Trade Insurance Agency’s (ATI) ( Annual General Meetings. The event opened with pointed remarks from H.E. Patrice Talon, President of Benin:

Le partenariat public-privé s’impose donc comme la réponse aux besoins d’investissement structurants de nos États. Se présente alors la nécessité de disposer d’outils appropriés permettant des investissements malgré la persistance de la perception de risque élevé en Afrique. Dans ce contexte, l’assurance-crédit constitue entre autres un outil efficace pour répondre à ce défi‘.

Subsequent discussions focused on possible solutions to the challenges facing governments from the private sector and export credit agencies from panelists such as:

  • Hon. Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Zimbabwe
  • Hon. Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy & Finance, Benin
  • Hon Felix Mutati, Minister of Finance, Zambia
  • Chamsou Andjorin, Director Government Affairs & Market Development, Boeing Intl.
  • Helen Mtshali, Syndication Lead – Sub-Saharan Africa, Industrial Finance Solutions, GE
  • Nisrin Hala, Sr. Director, Global Trade Finance Bus. Devpt. Emerging Markets, SMBC

Investors are not immune to political and social developments in emerging regions like Africa. In fact, with reduced earnings – the benchmark emerging-market stock index has lost approximately 4 percent annually since 2010 from a high of 22 percent annual return in the preceding decade – investors are now focusing on more than the bottom line in these markets. During the boom years of the last two decades, Africa was experiencing unprecedented GDP growth rates but depressed commodity prices have seen growth in the sub-Saharan Africa region slow to 1.5 percent rate in 2016. According to World Bank estimates, oil exporters account for most of the slowdown owing to their two-thirds contribution to regional output.

In a Bloomberg article published in March 2016, emerging market investors from some of the most prominent companies noted the dramatic change in their investing tactics due to global fragility, which they see as unveiling institutional weakness, corruption, poor governance and efficiencies. In this current climate, investors are now keenly tracking social indicators such as corruption rankings, gender parity and the extent that rule of law is respected within emerging markets.

Africa is in a period of realignment in this new global order but I don’t think anyone should bet against its resilience. We are still home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world – as of 2017, the World Economic Forum ranks Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Senegal on the list of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world‘ notes George Otieno, ATI’s CEO.

In this climate, it is more imperative than ever for African governments to focus on economic diversity to maintain growth while addressing risks to investors. As an internationally respected African institution, the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) offers the ideal solution precisely because the company has strong relationships with governments and because its risk assessments and mitigation solutions are seen as credible by global financiers and investors. With ATI involved in a transaction, governments are able to provide security to investors and suppliers against a range of investment risks.

In 2016, ATI insured close to USD2 billion (KES202.8 billion) worth of trade and investments and the company is increasingly supporting some of the continent’s most important transactions such as Ethiopian Airline’s fleet expansion and a USD660 million investment in Lake Turkana, Africa’s largest wind farm and, to date, the single largest investment in Kenya.

In this environment, ATI’s products are being seen as a valuable tool to enable lenders to take sub-investment grade risk in Africa thus allowing governments and corporates to access more affordable financing. Importantly, in its role as an investment insurer of last resort, ATI is also providing the necessary comfort to support continued investments into the continent amidst a period of uncertainty.

Also worth mentioning here in this context is the fact that so called hotel investments by global hospitality giants are actually mostly local investments from the respective business communities while the brand names only come in to manage and market those properties, not as equity partners, something often overlooked when talking FDI in the tourism sector across Africa.

UNWTO discusses Tourism and Security


(Posted 10th May 2017)

The integration of national security with tourism security, crisis communication and travel advisories were some of the key issues discussed at the 1st Meeting of the High Level Task Force on Tourism and Security, organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) today in Madrid. The event took place ahead of the 105th UNWTO Executive Council meeting to be held in Madrid, home of the UNWTO Headquarters, on 11 and 12 May.

The Task Force Meeting gathered representatives from UNWTO Member States, UN organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and private sector entities such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) and the Association of British Travel Agencies (ABTA).

The Task Force was established by the UNWTO Executive Council to help us reinforce our action and cooperation towards safer, more secure and yet more seamless travel‘ recalled UNWTO Secretary-General, Dr. Taleb Rifai, opening the meeting.

Actions such as joint police work between Spain and source markets for specific events or times of the year, tourism training for security forces in Jamaica, the tourism and security task force in Kenya, and the experience of the tourism police in Thailand were some of the cases shared during the meeting by UNWTO Member States.

Also on the table were issues of public and private sector cooperation in operational crisis management and communications, and the tourism sector addressing possible tightening of security measures.

The work of the Task Force will focus on five key issues: 1) the integration between tourism and security; 2) support to the sector in setting crisis management plans and protocols; 3) travel advisories; 4) safe, secure and seamless travel including visa facilitation; and 5) crisis communications.

These areas will be addressed by specific working groups tasked with developing recommendations and guidelines to be presented at the UNWTO General Assembly.

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Gorilla Highlands Silverchef competition on course for the weekend


(Posted 10th May 2017)

The Birdsnest at Bunyonyi Resort ( will this year provide the venue for the annual culinary competition staged by the Gorilla Highlands and some 15 chefs have signed up to the event to test their skills against each other.
Launched three years ago by Gorilla Highland’s Miha Logar has the competition accomplished one major objective, to improve culinary skills among young chefs based in the South West of Uganda and across the border in Rwanda after participating in the event.
In past competitions did chefs have to make a meal out of rabbits and other meats but for 2017 will only crayfish and fish fillet be available for them to create culinary delights fit to sway the jury’s tastebuds and hand the winner the coveted Silver Hat.

(Judges rating the creativity and presentation of the competition participants)

In a last communication to the participating chefs were they told the final list of ingredients available on site and those they can bring on their own:

Start quote:


Using only these ingredients, purchased by the organisers, you will be expected to make one two-course meal for five people, cooking with gas and/or charcoal or on a BBQ grill. An electric oven and a microwave will also be available. You will prepare one starter and one main dish; one of these courses has to be vegetarian (your choice which one). There is no meat option this year, only fish. Please come with your hotel/lodge uniform and with your knives; any other personal equipment is not required but will be allowed.

Fish: crayfish, fish fillet

Vegetables: French beans, fresh peas, onions, garlic (fresh and powdered), tomatoes, carrots, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, avocadoes, cauliflower, pumpkins, matoke, eggplants, spinach, lettuce, sweet corn

Fruits: pineapples, apples, passion fruits, yellow bananas, mangoes, lemons

Spices/herbs: salt, black pepper, white pepper, chilli, fresh basil, turmeric, curry powder, coconut powder, tarragon, lemon grass, coriander, spring onions, rosemary, parsley, celery, bay leaves, dill, white wine, red wine

Basics: wheat flour, maize flour, sugar, eggs, milk, cooking oil, g-nuts, olive oil, rice, Blue Band, unsalted butter, bread buns, bread crumbs, honey, white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, fresh cream, dark soy sauce, peanut butter, mozzarella cheese, oyster sauce, English mustard, soda carbonate

End quote

(One of the creations in last year’s competition)

Uganda’s rich organic produce from the South West of the country will form the foundation for the meals comprising of starter and main course and whatever the participating chefs will produce in the Birdsnest kitchen will no doubt find their way on to the regular menus in the hotels, resorts and lodges where they work.
Notably is Ruth Kamuteera, who hails from the region but works at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa, participating in her own capacity, as the geographical boundaries would not permit the hotel to formally sponsor her. She will no doubt be keen to measure herself up against the chef nominated from the Marriott Hotel in Kigali and others participating in the 2017 event.

As in previous years is the Uganda Tourism Board one of the event’s main sponsors and supporters, in line with promoting culinary excellence and the Gorilla Highlands as one of the country’s major tourism regions. Leading from front will once again be Sylvia Kalembe who has also been a judge in past competitions and who has become a key link between organizers and UTB to successfully stage the event.

Manila set to host 6th UNWTO Conference on Tourism Statistics


(Posted 10th May 2017)

Policy leaders, statisticians, academicians and private sector will convene in Manila, The Philippines, next June 2017 (21-24), to discuss new methodologies to measure the full impacts of tourism. The 6th edition of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Conference on Statistics, an official event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, will address the topic of ‘Measuring Sustainable Tourism’.

Supported by the United Nations Statistics Division, the UNWTO initiative ‘Towards a Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism’ (MST) underlines the need to measure the full effects of the tourism sector. The UNWTO International Conference to be held in Manila will serve as a platform to discuss the first draft of the MST framework and its future implementation.

The Philippines has become a reference in the region with regard to tourism measurement and a role model in the development of effective inter-institutional collaboration to develop tourism statistics. The commitment of the country, shown in the development of the Tourism Satellite Account framework, explains the decision to host the discussion on the MST initiative.

A Ministerial Roundtable will inaugurate the Conference in order to align efforts to advocate among governments the relevance of integrated and reliable data to manage and promote a more sustainable tourism sector. Afterwards, a Panel of Statistical Institutes will provide the opportunity to share experiences and practices implemented at global, regional and national level.

Other technical sessions will focus on understanding data demands, the link between the economic, the environmental and the social dimensions of sustainable tourism, including job creation, sub-national measurement, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators, and data sources including big data.

Besides policy leaders, statistical experts and private sector, representatives from international organizations such as the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and Eurostat will also contribute to the discussions.

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Kigali and Rwanda both ranked third in ICCA 2016 performance barometer


(Posted 10th May 2017)

ICCA has now officially confirmed, after the news was broken here two days ago, that Rwanda’s position as an African MICE powerhouse has gone up to third, only beaten by South Africa and Morocco.
The city of Kigali too has reached this ranking, with only Marrakech and Cape Town ahead of them in the African rankings.
Given that Rwanda in 2013 was in 21st position in Africa, has the formation of the Rwanda Convention Bureau in 2014 led to a constant rise through the ranks. In 2014 was Rwanda already in 13th position, in 2015 this rose to number 7 in Africa and now, in the latest ICCA Index has the Land of a Thousand Hills reached a podium position.
The following are the top ten countries and conference cities in Africa:

1. South Africa
2. Morocco
3. Rwanda
4. Egypt
5. Kenya
6. Ghana
7. Ethiopia
8. Nigeria
9. Tanzania
10. Uganda

1. Cape Town
2. Marrakech
3. Kigali
4. Durban
5. Johannesburg
6. Nairobi
7. Addis Ababa
8. Stellenbosch
9. Accra
10. Cairo

Here did notably Kampala come in 11th position giving some hope that when the Serena Conference Centre has undergone complete refurbishment by 2018 a higher position will be within reach.

However not one African country or city make it into the global top 20 though as the ICCA, short for the International Conference and Conventions Association rankings confirm.

2016 City rankings: Paris reclaims the top spot
Paris, number one in 2014, takes over first place again with 196 meetings in 2016 – one more meeting than last year’s number one Berlin. Even though the order is quite different, this year’s top 5 cities were also represented in last year’s top 5. Vienna climbs 2 places to second and Barcelona remains third. Berlin drops from first to fourth place and London remains fifth. Singapore is the first Asian city jumping one place from seventh to sixth. Madrid drop 2 places from a shared fifth in 2015 to a shared seventh in 2016. Newcomers in the top 10 compared to last year are Amsterdam, twelfth last year and now sharing seventh place with Madrid, and Seoul jumping from 13th to tenth. Like last year, Lisbon is ninth.

Table 1: Top 20 city ranking by number of meetings organised in 2016

Rank City # Meetings in 2016
1 Paris 196
2 Vienna 186
3 Barcelona 181
4 Berlin 176
5 London 153
6 Singapore 151
7 Amsterdam 144
Madrid 144
9 Lisbon 138
10 Seoul 137
11 Prague 126
12 Bangkok 121
13 Dublin 118
14 Copenhagen 115
15 Beijing 113
16 Budapest 108
17 Buenos Aires 103
18 Stockholm 101
19 Hong Kong 99
20 Rome 96

2016 Country rankings: France climbs one place
The top 10 is made up of the same countries as last year, with some minor shift and one newcomer on a shared tenth place. U.S.A. remains number one with 934 meetings in 2016; 9 more than in 2015. Germany remains second and The United Kingdom remains third. France and Spain swap places: France is now fourth and Spain fifth. Italy and Japan remain sixth and seventh, while Japan now shares seventh place with China-P.R., which is climbing one place. The Netherlands drops one place form shared eighth to ninth and Canada remains tenth but is now joined on tenth place by Portugal, which was twelfth last year.

Table 2: Top 20 country ranking by number of meetings organised in 2016

Rank Country # Meetings in 2016
1 U.S.A. 934
2 Germany 689
3 United Kingdom 582
4 France 545
5 Spain 533
6 Italy 468
7 China-P.R. 410
Japan 410
9 Netherlands 368
10 Canada 287
Portugal 287
12 Austria 268
13 Republic of Korea 267
14 Sweden 260
15 Brazil 244
16 Australia 211
17 Poland 195
18 Belgium 194
19 Argentina 188
20 Switzerland 184

(Source ICCA)

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